King Street Climb
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Climb King Street Station's clock tower!

Have you ever wondered what it looks like inside the clock tower of King Street Station in Seattle?  Well, come along as we climb up the stairs to the very top for a stunning view of the city.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 was King Street Station's 100th birthday.  I joined in the celebration by attending a panel discussion at Seattle City Hall and later visited the station for more pictures and speeches.  Click here for press coverage of the station's birthday. 

What I hadn't counted on was a rare invitation to explore the upper parts of the station and even the tower itself.

Steve Leach of WSDOT points out historical photographs of the station.

My host today was Steve Leach of Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).  After showing me around the depot and pointing out the recent restorations, he invited me upstairs for a look at the old offices, formerly used by Burlington Northern and Amtrak.  There wasn't much left upstairs, but there were hints of the station's former grandeur as we looked through a wall at the fancy plasterwork above the drop ceiling.

Above King Street Station's suspended ceiling...the glory that once was.

And now for something completely different.  Steve produced another key, unlocked a door on a creaky stairway, and led the way up to the top of the King Street Station tower!

Interior framework of King Street Station tower.

The tower itself is an iron skeleton with brick essentially filling in all the spaces.  You can see places where earthquakes have shaken and cracked the bricks, but nothing serious.  The tower is well built.  The first few "floors" of the tower had these huge 12' high wooden bookcases -- record storage, it said.  Nothing left but the shelves, of course.  As you get further up, you clamber up these very cool spiral, metal staircases.

Climbing the stairs upwards.

Wooden storage shelves about 12 feet high.  These are on several levels of the tower.

Interior girders and more stairs

Spiral staircase towards the top.

The clock is not running, well, it's correct twice a day, but that's it. It's kind of neat to look through the translucent haze of the clock dial at the city below.  It's like something out of an old black and white movie.

King Street Station tower clock from the inside.

Inner clock runs outer clock using poles.  Staircase continues to spiral upward between them.

Up to the very top, there are these clear tiles with big florescent lights inside that shine outward.  Steve says they want to get some more light in there to really make
the tower top shine out at night.

Inside very top of King Station Station.  These are translucent glass panels which allow light from fluorescent bulbs to shine outward at night.

At the top, a door opens and behind an iron fence, you get a fabulous view of the city.


Looking North from top of King Street Station.  That's the ex-GN tunnel under the downtown in the lower right of the picture.

Looking South from top of King Street Station.

Webmaster Lindsay, all out of breath, but what a view of downtown Seattle!

Close up of very top of station.  Old microwave towers partially visible will eventually be removed.

Steve Leach of WSDOT who led the way.  Thank you Steve, for a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime tour!